By Cassidy Reynolds

As spring turns to summer my enthusiasm for homework wanes. Outside, the sun beckons and I notice myself mentally “checking out”. Fortunately, we English 205 students still have something to look forward to besides finals. Though the semester is ending, the excitement for the editors of Mush Magazine has really just begun! Tomorrow, May 6 from 12:30 – 2:30 we will reveal the final publication at the official release party for Mush in the Student Union at UWMC.

These past months we have done our best to compile a wide range of unique art and literature created by students and community members. We are very proud of the pieces we’ve chosen and are thrilled to see the final product of everybody’s hard work. Mush magazine editors would like to thank all of the incredibly talented authors, poets, artists, and playwrights who submitted their pieces this year. The hardest thing about being an editor was trying to choose between all these awesome pieces!

I realized during this process, that literary magazines can only print one or two examples of a certain genre. For instance, if we had already chosen two nature poems, another nature poem, no matter it’s quality, would have to be rejected. This insight gave me an entirely new confidence to submit my work, free from the crippling fear of being rejected. Through the Mush submission process, I have learned that rejection usually means that there just wasn’t a place for that particular piece in that publication’s layout.

Writing has been a passion of mine since I was eleven years old. I am now thirty and can honestly say that I have just recently submitted my first piece of work to the August Derleth contest. Prior to that I had always been terrified that my writing wasn’t good enough, and I was even embarrassed to let people read it! I found out yesterday that the story I submitted to the contest was not chosen. Before taking English 205 this news would have devastated me. Now I reflect back on the intense anxiety that rejection had caused me and I laugh at myself.

It was an honor and privilege to have been a part of this year’s Mush Magazine team, who worked really hard and did a great job. I am also extremely grateful to Professor Jill Stukenberg, who inspired me to let go of my fears and put my work out there. The main point I’ll take away from the Mush magazine experience is that the road to acceptance is paved with multiple rejections, Ultimately, it is one’s strength, resolve, determination and perseverance that inevitably determines their success at achieving publication.


By Megan Michalski

This is my 2nd year at UWMC and I finally found the time to take the Mush class that was offered. I assumed that the class was going to be difficult but realized instantaneously that it was not. I have taken many English courses here at the MC and feel confident in my writing abilities but was glad that I got the chance to expand my knowledge. I liked this class from the minute it started-brought everyone together and we have had many laughs, especially with our company of rocks in our little geology lab. Mush has made me value my writing more as well as show me more techniques that I can apply to my own writing in the future to make it better. I realized once we started reading the pieces in the packets how diverse our small group was, as everyone had different opinions about everything. I remember our first big debate with two fiction pieces by the same author…probably my favorite moment in this class thus far.

I was ecstatic to be selected as Poetry Editor for Mush. At first, I was a little bit intimidated once seeing the quantity of just poems that we had submitted by people, but my nerves went away the instant I started reading the pieces. For me, this was a big responsibility as I have never been on a school paper or yearbook committees, so I did not have too much experience in terms of making a magazine, but this class made it seem effortless. I’ve never told anyone, not my family or friends, but reading and writing poetry helped get me through some tough times during in my life and honestly I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t turned to poetry to voice my thoughts and emotions. This role in Mush makes me feel as if I have a purpose and a goal to accomplish, whereas in my other classes I just sit there, take notes and take tests-nothing very exciting. I have loved most of the poetry that was submitted.

I was in for a shock when I realized how in depth the process was of selecting pieces for publication. I had submitted a piece last year and got rejected but still picked up Mush anyways and low and behold, at least 50% of the published pieces were editors, so for a little while I felt defeated and unsure if I should submit again, as I felt my pieces in all likelihood wasn’t given that much thought. Wrong! As soon as I saw how specific the process was in terms of separating what students wrote, community and alumni I realized the process took a lot more work than I expected. Knowing now that the pieces were read blindly when submitted made me start to understand why my piece could have been rejected-did not match up to other creative talent. I’m glad that Mush sticks with keeping the pieces being read blindly because if not, that takes away from the integrity of the magazine-if you read a piece by someone you know wrote it, it is likely that would get published just because of that reason. In truth, I am glad that I chose to take this class, for it has taught me a lot about writing and how I can improve. I am really going miss this class when it is over for the semester-so many fun memories and friends were made in the process of putting together a masterpiece. When I transfer to UWSP this fall,

I really hope they have a literary magazine so I can join that class and help create a masterpiece again.

By Nikki Sterling

This has been my second year with Mush, and it’s been such an experience!  I never imagined I would be creating a magazine that empowers so many people to get their writing and artwork out in the world.  After having gone through many head aches and many ‘aha!’ moments, I can truly appreciate the process of creating a magazine.  Even during my second year I had much to learn. 

As art editors we have to learn how to layout the pieces and try to keep them in their original form.  It may sound easy, but since we all have different computers and programs, it takes a lot of time to get everything set up.  As layout editors, we have to take the hard work from the other editors (art, prose and poetry editors) and put it all in one project.  Of course we have a lot of tedious work to do in order to get everything to line up just right.  Thankfully, the internet is our friend!  Once we get everything looking good, it’s time to send the project off to the printers.  Not even that can go right the first time.  Again we’re transferring the project from one computer to another so things may not align quite right.  Also, with a pair of fresh eyes, the mistakes we editors missed are brought forward so we can fix them.  After a few exchanges back and forth between Mush and the printers, we eventually get it right!  Now we wait for the final product so we can make it available to you readers!  

If any of you missed out on this year’s issue of Mush, don’t worry! You have plenty of time to prepare for next year’s issue.  Below you will find the information you need to get your artwork, poetry, prose, etc. to the University of Wisconsin Marathon County’s literary magazine, Mush.  


Send us up to five works of poetry, fiction, creative fiction, or artwork to Submissions will be

accepted starting Nov. 1, 2013 through 

Feb. 15, 2014


Selections will be made by Mush editors.  Due to limited space, shorter pieces will have better consideration.  Email Jill Stukenberg with questions at

By Shelby Artz

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This is my first year attending the University of Wisconsin Marathon County, and without realizing somehow I stumbled my way on to the staff of the school’s literary magazine called Mush. I originally thought that being a part of the Mush staff would turn out to be a lot like being an editor of my high school yearbook or newspaper. Turns out I was way wrong.

Being a part of the staff, I soon realized that every previous thought I had about what a literary magazine was, and what is consisted of, was wrong. I was completely unaware that editing and constructing was so different from all of the knowledge I already had. After working with the rest of the group, I soon realized that a literary magazine was a place for talented artists and authors to submit their work, and express what they are feeling on the inside while describing what they see on the outside. That was a big difference because the authors’ pieces could then be about anything. As the head editor my high school newspaper, the stories were mainly about the school, school events, and the surrounding community.

Discovering two differences was all I thought was going to happen, but boy was I wrong once again. In order for something to be published in the school’s literary magazine, all editors had to read, critique, and decide if the piece written by students, community members, or alumni would make it into this year’s issue. In my high school most pieces or articles written for the paper were not submitted by other people, some but not many were from community members and other students. Most were from the newspaper editor and other staff members. So as you can see I was amazed and my eyes were opened to a whole new world I had no idea even existed, but it didn’t stop there. The amount of work that went into discussing and choosing which pieces were going to make it into this year’s magazine was phenomenal! Each and every editor spent numerous hours each week carefully discussing each piece and fighting for it to make it into the magazine. Then each editing team with their own personal jobs soon took over, which included promoting the magazine, laying out each poetry, art and prose piece in the magazine, designing a cover, editing the writing pieces, and finally planning the release party for everyone to attend, that is only some of the tasks we as editors do.

Being part of the magazine staff has helped me realize many things. Whether it is the skills that it takes to construct and edit a literary magazine, or about people in general. There are only a few constructive minds working inside the concrete walls of the geology lab, but we are all different. Reading and admiring all the art, poetry, and prose pieces has led me to realize that people in our school also are different and very talented. As an editor, I have learned many things, and I’m still learning more each and every day. I went from not knowing exactly what a literary magazine was to being completely submersed into its creativeness. I can’t wait to see if the school I attend next year has a literary magazine staff that I can join!

shelby 2

Chou Her, Prose Editor


As my time spent in Mush went from the first week to half a semester, I have witnessed many new and great things about our little organization. If I can, I will say that all of us are passionate about literature and art. I do know that everyone came to Mush for different reasons, pursuit, and goals. For me, coming to Mush was an opportunity to expand my knowledge of what a literary magazine is and how it works. Each individual had the opportunity to choose a role to partake in and I’m here to tell you about mine.

As an artist, specifically manga and animation, I came to Mush hoping to get something out of the experience. I am involved in my own group outside of my academics that printed a little manga very much like Mush magazine, except the print I did with my group is a manga style print. Manga is of Japanese culture style and the equivalent of comics. Through Mush what I wanted to learn was what a literary magazine feels like and how it works.

Entering Mush at the beginning, I found out there were roles. Little did I expect that there were three roles that conflicted my choice in what I wanted to do. They were Poetry, Prose, and Art editor. I like poetry. It was a writing form that I enjoy and makes me free to express myself. I thought it would be great to be the poetry editor because I had interest. However, the role did not fall to me after a vote of majority; my vote included. Sometimes you may not get what you want, but you can try for something else of challenge. Art was familiar to me, but I didn’t fight for the role. I believe anyone could be a great art editor regardless of familiarity or not.

Thus I got the role of Prose editor. I was a bit scared because I knew nothing of what a prose editor does. Eventually I got the hang of the job, which consists of line editing and reviewing prose stories such as short fiction, flash fiction, plays, etc. The job was no easy task, same goes for all the roles in Mush, and it was definitely an experience worth having. I hope to continue to do my role well and contribute to Mush until we have a final print in everyone’s hands!

Here are links to our Facebook page and to our Deviant Art page if you guys want to check it out!

By Ted Ceplina, Managing Editor

I somehow felt after multiple semesters of English courses that I had the basic skills to call myself well-rounded in the subject matter. Little did I know there are many finer nuances to being a writer, one of them is to be able to interpret the work of others. As writers, it’s common to assume what we are writing will be understood by others just the way we see it. When it came to judging MUSH submissions, I feel we as a group discovered quite the opposite. A piece can mean a whole lot of different things from individual to individual. For instance one person might read a poem as disturbing, with little value, or no direction. Someone else may see it as humorous, deeply rooted in personal experience, and a wonderful confession of intimate truths. As editors for MUSH we needed to take this into consideration. For each and every single piece we spent a great deal of time exploring what we felt the true meaning or vision of a piece may be. By discussing our individual interpretations of pieces, we were able to give them a much more careful examination and try to understand how the selection may be perceived by our readers.

            This process was not without heated moments. All of us editors are deeply passionate about the arts and naturally we hold our own personal viewpoints as a result. Determining what is a good fit for publishing was very difficult at times. Ultimately we had to throw our own biases away and try to put ourselves in the minds of our readers. Instead of thinking about what we want to read on a personal level, it was much more important to think about what pieces would be positively received by a larger audience. We joked many times about how we tended to pick pieces that were downright dark or even depressing in nature. I don’t necessarily think this reflects the persona of us as readers, instead it shows that we are all receptive of knowing and understanding the beautiful raw truths of life. This is one of the greatest merits of literary magazines like MUSH. The publication allows a diverse array of people to submit pieces that portray an individual viewpoint, a personal truth, something that we as adults are perfectly capable of digesting. With that said, there were also many positive pieces. Some carried a strong moral message, others relayed fond memories, and some were loaded with humorous wit. It was important to includ a nice mix of emotions and sentiments, after all what’s the point of cooking with just one spice?

            I sincerely look forward to seeing our first copies of MUSH with their glistening covers and factory-fresh ink smell. There is so much more to the publication than the physical magazine. MUSH is the collective voice for writers, it is all about who we are and sharing it with the world.

By Ariel Goronja


Mush is our own personal college literary magazine dedicated to publishing unique and creative stories, poems, plays and art. However, there is another form of art that I feel deserves recognition in our magazine, one that most people give a lifelong dedication to – tattoos. We publish stories and poetry written on paper, and artwork drawn and painted onto canvas, but we, as an entire student/community body, tend to forget that there is more to the world of art than just plain old white regular canvas. We are all human canvas’ ourselves, and many of us allow our canvas to be filled with extraordinarily beautiful ink. 

Though there is still such a controversial “taboo” surrounding permanent body art, isn’t there something to be said for the world of art and literature pushing the boundaries of what’s socially acceptable and what’s not? I feel that this should definitely play an important role in our own Mush magazine. We, as editors, spend weeks meticulously shuffling through submissions to choose the best work possible to be published. However, the common assumption of those who submit to our magazine is that we only accept generally what we’ve published in the past. What’s stopping us from opening up our minds and pages to something different? Not only is body art just as breathtaking and innovative as other artwork we’ve received, there’s  usually just as much, if not more story behind body art. Think about it; somebody who chooses to have something as permanent as a tattoo inked onto their bodies has to have a story, or some sort of very personal meaning behind it. It’s forever. It’s not going to wash off in a couple of weeks like “permanent” marker, or hair dye. It’s for life. In my opinion, that means even more than a poem that could be buried and forgotten, or a picture that can fade or be destroyed. A tattoo is a lifelong dedication.

  Not everyone is able to express themselves through writing or song or paint. Some people have an easier time expressing it through ink, with no words needed. If Mush opened its doors to the world of ink there could be so much more diversity and story in our magazine. Not only is the individual being able to share their beauty and love with the world, they are promoting their tattoo artist and shop, and helping stamp out the ridiculous controversy and discrimination surrounding body art. 

From my few months experience working with Mush, I feel very connected with the magazine, the authors, and the work I’m given the ultimate privilege to review. However, I feel our little community magazine could benefit greatly from spreading out, and really tackling all aspects of the artistic world we live in. Not only would it reach out to a more diverse audience, it would pull in more submissions and give our authors and readers a place to feel they can truly express themselves completely.